If Simone Biles is looking for an ally amongst sports superstars, she’ll have to find someone other than tennis legend Novak Djokovic. The sports’ top-ranked player is accustomed to the pressure surrounding athletes who compete at the highest level. But rather than run from it, Djokovic welcomes the challenge, referring to pressure as “privilege”.
After Biles withdrew from the remaining individual all-around competition at the Olympics, mental health and pressure became a hot topic for other athletes involved with the Tokyo Games. One such competitor, Djokovic, embraces the pressure:
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“Pressure is a privilege, my friend,” said Djokovic, per Yahoo Sports .”Without pressure there is no professional sport. If you are aiming to be at the top of the game you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments — on the court but also off the court.”
Djokovic’s no stranger to pressure, but he’s not letting it stop him: “All that buzz and all that noise is the thing that, I can’t say I don’t see it or I don’t hear it, of course it’s there, but I’ve learned, I’ve developed the mechanism how to deal with it in such a way that it will not impose destruction to me,” Djokovic said via Yahoo Sports. It will not wear me down.”
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Djokovic is slated to face Kei Nishikori in a men’s Olympic Quarterfinal on Thursday. With the chance to play for a gold medal on the line, it’s unlikely Djokovic will feel the pressure.